Bullet Journaling – part 3, things I’ve modified/implemented in my second notebook

This is my final (planned) post on bullet journaling and how it’s working for me. I wanted to get this up in case someone is planning to start this for the new year and would find any of this helpful before setting up their new notebook. (My publish on a future date settings went wrong and this isn’t going out until the 31st when I meant for it to go out on the 26th. Apologies!)

You learn as go with this system, and I’ve spent the last few months trying some things. Some worked, some didn’t. I’m using what worked, and dropping what didn’t. I’m not bothering with any type of doodles or artwork because I don’t find it useful/helpful in any way, but I do use some washi tape and lots of color in the form of markers, pencils, and pens because I like color.

So here’s what I am doing differently in over all setup:

Split Index
I have my Index pages/columns, but I’ve also made a column for Collections all it’s own. That way when I am looking for a specific collection to reference something in it, I can find it more easily than if I had to read through the entire Index. I don’t always think of things the way I originally named them, so having a shorter list to read through will help me not miss what I am looking for.

And speaking of Collections..
Collections in the back.
I am putting all collections/lists of things I keep for reference in the back of the journal like an appendix.
There will obviously be things that come up as the year goes on that will get mixed into the daily stuff, but generally speaking, it’s going to be in the back.
And for migrating collections from the old to the new? Digitizing, printing, and attaching in the collections from the 2017 book to the new one. That way I don’t waste time writing a whole list again, I can easily alphabetize it, add to it, update, and move it all over again when I move out of this notebook at some future date. I keep all of these as multiple sheets in a single excel file, so it’s easy to wrangle them if I need to with my excel wizardry. I have lists for authors I like to read, audiobook readers I like to listen to, things I want to make, quotes I like, a honey-do List for shmoo, and downstairs freezer contents. Likely I’ll have more in the future, but for now that’s it.

Doubled Future Log; skipped first month.
The Future log is 2 years instead of 1. I started with February and not January because that’s wasted space since the Journal starts with January. And sure, 2 years it’s a long way out, but when a doctor says “ok see you next year” I want to be able to put that appointment in my journal. Also, I like having the long view, and I don’t think I’ll use up this journal in one year based on the number of pages and how many pages I use per month, so 2 years up front is just more practical.

No Monthly Cover Pages
I tried having monthly cover pages for October, November, and December. I just don’t see the point, and in my opinion it’s a waste of a page I could be putting something useful on. I don’t need a mini-calendar I’m not going to look at, an inspiring quote/art, or an indicator that the month has changed. I don’t need a separating page, and if I do, I’ll just leave it blank so I can use it for something else later. For me, each monthly spread page is indicator enough that the month has changed.

Edge Protection
I am now placing washi tape on the edges of pages I know will see heavy use in order to help them remain intact and have less wear. Things like the Future Log, Monthly spreads, and certain collection pages are all getting a vertical band of washi on the edge of at least one side of the page to help stabilize the page for heavy use.

So that’s it. Now you know what I know about bullet journaling.

Bullet Journaling – part 1, a few thoughts and some reference links

I started Bullet Journaling in March for my personal life, and starting using the same format each day for work in late July. It seems to be a the cool thing to do now according to the internets, but I actually find it useful I wouldn’t have kept doing it, so I thought I’d do a few posts on it in case it’s helpful for someone else.

What attracted me to bullet journaling:
You don’t need anything other than a notebook that you like, spiral, bound, stapled paper, whatever is going to work for you that you have on hand or easily afford. The system is not meant to be a huge time, money, or energy sink, and you can pick up and start using it whenever, and if you stop for a few weeks, just go to the next blank page and go again. No sweat. Because it’s not a preprinted planner, you aren’t wasting pages by time passing. It’s fairly simple and straight forward if you stick with the basics. It can be as elaborate or as minimalist as you want.

Why I use it:
I’m not a diary writer or journaler about life events. I don’t need to know what my thoughts and feelings are on a subject in writing. I don’t care. What I need is a way to keep track of all the shit in my head that I keep forgetting. This does that for me. I spend a few minutes each day getting the things out of my brain that I used try and keep a handle on mentally. This works for me because it’s freeing up brain space so I can move on to other thoughts and tasks without worrying I’ll forget what I just thought about, because I wrote it down and know I’ll get to it when it’s appropriate. As I get older, and more and more distracted and forgetful about the billions of tiny little details that make up my life, I find it harder to stay on top of everything I need to remember, and this is a solution to that problem for me.

The next post on this will be about how it’s working out for me, and the post after that will be about the notebook I am starting at the New Year and the minor changes I’ve made that will suit me better. (No, you don’t have to do this, but the spine on my current journal is breaking, the paper allows more bleedthrough than I like, and I want to swith from graph paper to dotted paper.) For now, here’s a set of links and notes for someone interested in possibly starting bullet journaling.

website and video by guy (Ryder Carroll) who started it

the journal/notebook I bought to try out the system:

the one I am “upgrading” to for next year (it’s a buck more, but heavier paper dot grid paper, and hopefully a better spine):

the journal/notebook most folks get because it has index pages and page numbers for you already, and has a lot of options for colors:

and here’s the ruler I use for quick straight lines and as a bookmark: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015ZY25I

Some people I follow on youtube who make videos about their journaling to give you an idea of what can be done with it and how people are using it etc etc, and you can see from the titles I’ve listed below, they obviously do this every month pretty much, and some of them put out other content like migrating from one journal to another once they’ve filled one and such, but this should give you an idea of the nutso elaborate things people are doing as well as give you some ideas of the things you can keep track of and how to track them pretty easily if you are interested in doing so. Watching these made a difference for me in that I realized I could implement some of these things in my journal and get more out of it, but it was also a bit overwhelming because a lot of it is WAAAAAAAY to arty and time consuming for me.

Sunshine and Stationary:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phmRD7sJWwU

Steph B Sanity:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKr77EDs3dc

Jenny Journals:
Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSf-cwg_tic

Plan With Me Oct 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj7vnpnQzWo

There’s are two different reddits for Bullet Journaling. r/bulletjournal is more artsy, and r/bujo is more bare bones getting shit done


And finally, after you’ve seen all this crap and are overwhelmed as hell….

It’s easy to make all this harder than it really is, and ultimately it’s about getting things done, not making your life harder or stressing out because you don’t have a pretty notebook.